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December 2004

So what are we Progressives gonna do about energy scarcity (Peak Oil)?

It is easy to oppose US foreign policy on moral grounds, but unfortunately there are real and practical concerns that Progressives must deal with if our beliefs are to remain grounded in reality. One of these concerns is energy scarcity (peak oil).

As Michael Ruppert points out in “Crossing the Rubicon”, our entire way-of-life is based on the abundance of affordable energy.  If our energy supply runs out, the world will plunge into chaos and a good many of us will die of war and starvation.  Think, for a moment, of all the energy that goes into producing and transporting our food alone.

So the Neocons come to power with a plan that at least delays the inevitable.  Obviously, the only way these morons are allowed to rule is because enough of the ruling elites think their plans make sense.  So, my thinking is...if we Progressives could come up with a more desirable plan, we might be allowed to rule and the elites might rig the next election in our favor.  See, the mistake is to believe that we live in a Democracy.  In reality, you have to achieve your ends by selling to power so that power can sell to the people.  If you go directly to the people with a great idea, you are so easily undermined by big media and corporate power.  Look at Dennis Kucinich or Ralph Nader.

So the Neocon plan actually makes a lot of sense logistically: you have the resources, but we want them so we'll take them.  Oh, and in the process of doing so we'll make the rich elites even richer.  Oh, and in the process of making the rich richer we'll build weapons that can be used for population control when the oil runs out.  The ruling elites may not want to kill us off in an ideal world, but if push comes to shove they'll surely do it to save themselves.

I know...the Dems talk about "inventing our way out of this problem" and becoming "self-sufficient", but how many PNAC-like think-tanks have they set up to determine exactly how that would be actively plan and manipulate world events so that it *is* done?  Progressives also talk a lot about conserving energy, which certainly has to be a key component of any viable strategy, but for some reason this message isn't being sold well enough to the right people.

What exactly can *really* be done to balance severe scarcity with values like equal opportunity and justice for all?  We can't really deliver on our promises unless we have a specific, viable plan to fix energy scarcity and material scarcity in general.

I am perfect and I am the center of the universe

Its easy to blame the media for the ignorance of the American people.  Commercial media lies.  Any serious intellectual understands this and there's no reason to belabor this point.  It is, therefore, tempting to theorize that, if there were a way to somehow "take back the media", establish investigative journalism practices, and pry news organizations away from the controlling hands of corrupt corporations, we'd be left with a healthy, thriving democracy of intelligent, involved citizens.   

But it occurs to me that commercial media also tells the truth on occasion.   Why is it that the truth doesn't "stick" like the lies do? 

Truth hurts.  People don't want the truth.  We want to be the center of our universe.  We want validation.  We want to feel good about ourselves.  And we want to be perfect.  For most people, anything that raises any self-doubt or guilt is to be ignored and ridiculed.

Advertisements tell us that we are center of the universe.  Churches make us believe that God is concerned with each and every one of us and a Savior even died for us because we are so important.  Religion compels people to change through the promise that, by changing, we will become more righteous, pure, and perfect.  When we are convinced that a religion is the path to perfection, or perhaps owning a specific car is the same, we are unlikely to listen to any idea that takes us off that course.

No amount of hard-hitting, truthful journalism will validate anyone or make anyone feel perfect and accepted.  We already have plenty of largely ignored non-commercial media that does a very good job.  People don't listen because they don't want the guilt.  They don't want to understand that their lifestyle directly impacts the misery of others.

What is needed is a sort of "religion of truth" that tells us that, only by living our lives in pursuit of truth...however raw and painful that truth is...we are perfect.  Truth-seeking is, in truth, the closest thing I have to religion.  Through truth-seeking, I can embrace my imperfection and at the same time see myself as more perfect.